August 29, 2012

Back to Kentucky (Twice)

Location: Gallatin, TN, USA
On August 22, 1862, the 79th Pennsylvania undid six months' of work as it crossed the border to reenter Kentucky for the first time since February 28.  Rather than focus on the rapidly deteriorating situation situation in the Western Theater--which the soldiers don't really show a grasp of yet--the soldiers delighted in the abundant peaches and melons produced by a countryside that they had previously known as bleak and unwelcoming. 

After hitting the Kentucky line, the regiment seems to have stopped and participated in scouting operations back near Gallatin, Tennessee.  Sgt. William T. Clark noted that Company B was on picket duty at the plantation of Judge Josephus Conn Guild, which is now a museum (link). Clark recorded, "Two or three of us got our dinner there. She is a hard Secesh. and had a son in Morgan’s gang."

Rose Mont, Home of Judge Guild
Co. B, 79th PA, picketed here on August 25, 1862.
Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau (Source)
An important event occurred on August 28, 1862, as the Lancaster County Regiment learned it was now assigned to a division commanded by Gen. Lovell Rousseau, who impressed Clark as a "very fine looking man."  The regiment boarded train cars and traveled to fortifications near Columbia, started for Pulaski, and then returned to Nashville on August 29.  On September 4, the 79th Pennsylvania left Nashville again and hit the Kentucky line two days later.  This time, they would not leave Kentucky without a fight.

One perspective on the march came from Hospital Steward John B. Chamberlain, whose letter was published in the August 31, 1862, Daily Inquirer: (alternate link)

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